SHANGHAI Chinas plate export market lost further ground this past week as buyers remained scarce and more mills reduced their list prices.
Transactions for commercial-grade, boron-containing plate were at $520 to $525 per tonne f.o.b. for July shipment May 22, down $5 per tonne from AMM sister publication Steel Firsts price assessment of $525 to $530 per tonne f.o.b. May 17.
Base export offers for the product also dropped by $10 per tonne to $530 to $540 per tonne f.o.b. for the same shipment period.
"The further decrease in list prices allowed steelmakers to set lower export prices," a trader in Shanghai said.
Three plate producers, including Taiyuan Iron and Steel (Group) Co., reduced their list price for the product by 50 to 70 yuan ($8 to $11) per tonne May 21.
Business is still slow, with many mills struggling to close deals.
"It is not easy to conclude business despite lower prices," an export manager for a steelmaker in northern China said. However, room for further price drops will be limited as producers are unwilling to sell at a loss, he said.
Instead, most plate producers have been cutting output in an attempt to shore up the market.
Domestic plate prices in China fell further this week, deflating sentiment.
In Shanghai, 14- to 20-mm plate was trading at 3,610 to 3,620 yuan ($583 to $585) per tonne May 22, down 10 to 20 yuan ($2 to $3) from Steel Firsts previous assessment and 40 to 60 yuan ($6 to $10) per tonne lower than a week earlier.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.